Cultural Analytics: Visualizing Cultural Patterns in the Era of “More Media”
Today sciences, business, governments and other agencies rely on computer-based analysis and visualization of large data sets and data flows. They employ statistical data analysis, data mining, information visualization, scientific visualization, visual analytics, and simulation. We propose to begin systematically applying these techniques to contemporary cultural data. The large data sets are already here – the result of the digitization efforts by museums, libraries, and companies over the last ten years (think of book scanning by Google and Amazon) and the explosive growth of newly available cultural content on the web.
We believe that a systematic use of large-scale computational analysis and interactive visualization of cultural patterns will become a major trend in cultural criticism and culture industries in the coming decades. What will happen when humanists start using interactive visualizations as a standard tool in their work, the way many scientists do already? If slides made possible art history, and if a movie projector and video recorder enabled film studies, what new cultural disciplines may emerge out of the use of visualization and data analysis?